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Diasporas, development and diplomacy: How to engage refugees in assistance back home

Jacob Townsend's picture
Migrants are increasingly recognised as transnational actors who can contribute to the development of their countries of origin without actually returning to them. In recent decades, host countries and countries of origin have begun to look beyond the financial remittances of migrants to social remittances.  Many aid and peacebuilding programs are seeking to leverage migrants’ access to and knowledge of their countries of origin.

Strict Immigration Curbs Rejected by Swiss Voters

Hanspeter Wyss's picture

Thanks to 74 percent of Swiss voters and to all of the 26 cantons who voted against the referendum to introduce strict immigration quotas, I am now relieved.  If the referendum on November 30 by the environmentalist group Ecopop had been successful, I am not sure whether Switzerland would have let me return. The supporters of the referendum “’stop overpopulation – safeguard our natural environment”’ (see blog) sought to limit the annual net annual immigration to 0.2 percent of Switzerland’s resident population. This quota, representing about 16,000 people per year, is a fifth of the net immigration to Switzerland in recent years (an annual average of 81,500 immigrants from 2008 to 2013). The 0.2 percent curb would have applied to all migrants, including asylum seekers, people wanting to be reunited with family members already living in Switzerland, migrants looking for better job opportunities, some of the more than 730,000 Swiss abroad who would like to come back, or very rich individuals who would like to live in Switzerland because of lower taxes.  The latter group may be thankful to those 59 percent of Swiss voters who rejected another referendum from last weekend on whether to abolish lump-sum taxation in all 26 cantons (five cantons have already decided to abolish this tax regime).  Such tax privileges are accorded to wealthy private foreign nationals who take residence in Switzerland for the first time or after ten years of absence, but are not allowed to work in Switzerland.

KNOMAD Call for Papers: Vulnerability and Resilience in Explaining Migration and Development

Dilip Ratha's picture

Experts generally agree that the environmental change is but one of the many reasons that prompt people to migrate, sometimes operating on its own but more often through other mechanisms.  Individuals, households and communities facing similar environmental changes may respond differently to these processes.  It is believed that the specific impacts of environmental change, and the extent to which they lead to migration, displacement and/or relocation, are mediated by the level of vulnerability and resilience found in those affected by these processes.* Understanding why people faced with similar macro-level factors move or stay is important. A better understanding of the impact of vulnerability and resilience to environmental changes may help policymakers and practitioners assess the degree to which people need to move, what forms of movement are likely, and their ability to avoid harm in the presence or absence of mobility.

Voices of Migrants: Request for Proposals for Literature Review

Dilip Ratha's picture

In the framework of its “Voices of Migrants” project, the Cross-cutting Theme on Public Perceptions and Communications of the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) is looking for a short-term consultant (team) to conduct a literature review.

Mobilizing diaspora savings for investments in Egypt

Kirsten Schuettler's picture
Egypt approached Egyptian nationals and corporations in September this year to support the enlargement of the Suez Canal. President Sisi urged Egyptians within and outside the country to subscribe to investment certificates that are dedicated to finance this national dream for Egypt. The five years certificates were the market’s largest maturity and were offered in three, quarterly paid categories: 10 EGP ($1.39), 100 EGP ($13.9) and 1,000 EGP ($139). The guaranteed return on investment of 12 percent was higher by 3.5 percent over what banks offered on deposits maturing up to one year.

Shifting population structures and climate change as key drivers of future migration trends

Sylvia Szabo's picture

According to the UN World Population Prospects, the global population is expected to exceed 8.4 billion by 2030 (UN, 2013). This continued population growth will be coupled by shifts in population structures and evolving dynamics of the specific components of demographic change. The impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and evolving temperature and precipitation patterns, will also affect the future migration corridors and migrants stock (Nicholls, 2011). This article argues that the two above phenomena will become the key drivers of global migration trends. With regards to the shifts in population structures, existing evidence suggests that population aging is becoming a major socio-economic challenge, including in EU countries and East Asia. A recent study conducted by OECD (2008) shows that the proportion of people aged 65 or older is projected to double by 2050. Increasing life expectancy combined with below replacement fertility rates imply that within the next two decades a number of countries are likely to experience shortages in labour force. Thus, some traditionally labour sending countries, such as Poland, can expect increased numbers of immigrants, including from the former Soviet Union and Asia. These expected trends have been confirmed by a recent study conducted by EUROSTAT, which states that Europe will become older and more multicultural (Lanzieri, 2011).

Can virtual currencies help lower the cost of remittances?

Dilip Ratha's picture

One of the key messages I took away from TED Global 2014 was that virtual currencies (such as Bitcoin) are a reality, and it is only a matter of time - as little as 5 years, according to some people - before we'd all be using these currencies. The application of virtual currencies to the transfer of money across places and countries seems very promising as it could be nearly costless and instantaneous. Yet I feel that regulators are not prepared for such innovation in the field of cross-border remittances, in part, because they have not had the time to familiarize themselves with these instruments, and in part, also because the implications of virtual currencies for the formulation and implementation of monetary and exchange rate policies are yet to be examined.